Book Highlight: North Korea Demystified

If the world is to effectively deal with the reality of North Korea, reliable information is critical. This book seeks to demystify the “intelligence black hole” that is North Korea. In so doing, it supplies the reader with much needed factual information garnered through firsthand experience by those who have actually visited and done research in North Korea. Each chapter consists of original research by prominent experts in the field.This is a timely read, given the current escalation of political tensions between North Korea and the United States. Whereas other studies of North Korea most often rely merely on available secondary resources (e.g., texts, films etc.) rather than firsthand experience or interviews in supporting central claims, this edited volume, led by foremost North Korean expert Dr. Han S. Park, has the unprecedented advantage of all its contributors having actually spent a considerable amount of time “on the ground” in North Korea gathering information for their research. North Korea Demystified is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

North Korea Demystified

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Cambria Press Publication Excerpt from “North Korea Demystified”

Cambria Press publication

Given the recent events, it would be timely to revisit North Korea Demystified. The book was published in at the end of 2012, but the advice of expert Professor Bruce Cumings in his chapter “North Korea––Dealing with Irrationality” still resonates with most, especially given the precarious state of world politics and the reputation of the leaders in place. Professor Cumings urges that we “finally to shed the anachronistic polarized positions and mindset of the Cold War and to move in the direction of a calm, steady, nuanced, and persistent process of rapprochement with Pyongyang.” He explains why in the publication excerpt below:

How do psychiatrists deal with an angry, violent, insulting, aggravating, recalcitrant, prideful, self-defeating patient? With concern, empathy, understanding, deflection, subtle advice (usually suggesting alternative behavior), the setting of limits on the one hand and the opening of avenues toward change on the other. Think of Tony Soprano and Jennifer Melfi: did she call him a fat, slovenly, self-indulgent, and self-regarding Mafia thug? No, she treated him like a human being in pain who needed help. China has long used a concept, zixiao, which is usually translated “cherishing friends from afar” (or “cherishing the lesser”), but it really means not sweating the small stuff when it comes to relations with allied or tributary states, or enemies who are not really threatening. It is a classic hegemonic device to show that the power that everyone recognizes as superior nonetheless shows concern and regard for the smaller or lesser party. English does not have a good equivalent to this (although magnanimity comes close), so its speakers use foreign phrases, like noblesse oblige.

North Korea

North Korea Demystified (Cambria Press, 2012)

Buy this book from Cambria Press today and use coupon code AAS2017 to save 30% on the hardcover version.

See also A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia by Thomas A. Drohan

Asia Warfare

United States Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from Asia

Professors Yoichiro Sato and Tan See Seng’s recent book, United States Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from Asia, has been praised by Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rector of Tembusu College, National University of Singapore, as being “an important book about an important subject.”

#ISA2016

The following is an interview with Dr. Sato and Dr. Tan on some key questions which they cover in their book.

Why is it important for the US to consider these Asian perspectives on the pivot to Asia?
Sato & Tan: The Obama administration’s “Rebalance to Asia” strategy is more multilateral than any previous Asia strategy by the U.S. government. Not only U.S. relations with key allies, such as Japan, Australia, and South Korea, call for close consultations, but also the growing U.S. partnerships with new regional partners must be framed within the comfort zones of these partners.

Similarly, why is it important for China to do the same?
Sato & Tan: Asian countries are carefully observing progression of the U.S.-China relations. As the Obama administration carefully crafts a mix of economic and diplomatic engagement of and military deterrence against China, China’s reactions to this U.S. strategy shape Asian countries’ perceptions of China and their positioning of themselves in the emerging regional order.

Your book compares Cold War and post‐Cold War containment policies. Please tell us briefly what this comparative analysis revealed.
Sato & Tan: Geopolitical instincts of the United States as a major maritime power do play a role in the U.S. strategy through the two periods. At the same time, much closer U.S. economic interdependence with the whole of East Asia including China today necessitates that the United States balances its military security interests with economic interests for its own sake and for the sake of its regional allies and partners.

The book also discussed changes in China’s foreign policy. Could you please elaborate?
Sato & Tan:
China today is much more confident than two decades ago when its reformed economy was in an early stage of integration with East Asia and the United States. Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of keeping low foreign policy profile while focusing on export-led economic growth through continuous access to the U.S. market has been replaced by more assertive foreign policy as seen in the ongoing confrontations in the South China Sea.

Could you please tell us briefly what are some important points that we should take away from each of the country’s perspectives? Let’s start with Japan.
Sato & Tan: Japan, as the prime military ally of the United States and a major historical rival of China, is capable of asserting most influence upon the emerging U.S. strategy. Assuring U.S. commitment to the bilateral alliance is clearly Japan’s motivation for upgrading its own growing sharing of collective defense responsibilities.

What about Taiwan?
Sato & Tan:Taiwan’s satisfaction with its de facto (not de jure) independence needs symbolic U.S. commitment. “Balancing” of China’s threats with more tangible U.S. commitment may inadvertently trigger a more classical security dilemma for Taiwan, inviting aggressive PRC reactions.

Now what about Korea and DPRK?
Sato & Tan:
North Korean threat is an opportunity for the United States to enhance trilateral cooperation with Japan and South Korea, while not pointing a finger at China as a common enemy. China also sees the North Korean problem as an opportunity to win a diplomatic credit as a “responsible stakeholder” in regional security management. However, North Korea with its own internal difficulties at the time of leadership transition has not responded to the U.S. “Rebalance.” South Korea with its historical grievances against Japan has also been extremely cautious to sign up to the U.S.-proposed trilateralization.

Let’s move to the southeast now. What about Singapore?
Sato & Tan: The chapter on Singapore argues that Singapore has long viewed and continues to view the US as the “indispensable power” whose post-World War II role as the strategic guarantor and balancer in the Asia-Pacific remains as crucial, not least in the face of China’s rising power and influence. To that end, Singapore has pursued robust relations with the US short of a formal alliance. That said, the rebalancing strategy adopted the Obama administration, which Singapore welcomes, has complicated the latter’s ties with China.

 

And Vietnam?
Sato & Tan:
As the Vietnam chapter has detailed, Vietnam’s vexing dispute with China in the South China Sea (SCS) is complicating their long and complex ties. While the positive direction Vietnam-US ties is taking has its own logic and imperative, there is no question Hanoi’s SCS dispute with Beijing has driven Hanoi and Washington closer together. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Vietnam has chosen the US over China.

Now please tell us about Vietnam’s neighbor, Myanmar.
Sato & Tan: Under President Thein Sein, Myanmar, in the eyes of many, has evolved from a pariah state to a country seeking to liberalize, albeit fitfully. Its relations with the US have vastly improved. Like its CLV counterparts, Myanmar remains highly reliant on China economically, but of late has shown an incipient willingness to diversify. Its future ties with the US will be defined by how Myanmar handles its domestic political transition, its intra-ethnic conflicts, and its relations with China.

 

You also discuss India and Australia. Let’s talk about India first.
Sato & Tan: As the India chapter shows, Delhi’s positive relationship with Washington, underscored by their nuclear deal, should not be taken to mean India is bandwagoning with the US against China. Despite Mr. Modi’s radical credentials, he has surprised many with his deft diplomacy including strong engagement with the US. While India makes no bones about regarding China as a peer competitor, it nonetheless prefers to maintain strategic autonomy.

Now what about Australia?
Sato & Tan:
The Australia chapter reviewed the ongoing debate within Australian strategic circles regarding Canberra’s longstanding strategic dependence on the US, on one hand, and its economic cum diplomatic engagement with Asia on the other. Although Australia remains a key security ally of the US, the emergence of China as Australia’s top trading partner has led many to question the wisdom of continued reliance on the US, which could potentially lead Australia into an “entrapment trap.”

What are some general points you hope your readers take away?
Sato & Tan: Despite questions over the ability, resolve and even ethical behavior of the US as a global power, its importance to the Asia-Pacific cannot be denied.  China’s power and influence have elicited mixed reactions from its regional neighbors over its strategic ambition and assertive behavior. While US balancing has complicated things for Asian countries especially their relations with China, they’ve largely welcomed it, whether as a way to politically balance against China or to hedge against the big powers.

 

What words of advice would you give to the new president of the United States in 2016 regarding the US strategy towards Asia?
Sato & Tan: The US should continue to engage Asia in ways that contribute to the region’s stability, prosperity and security. It will likely have to accomplish this through accommodating China’s ambition and interests whilst encouraging the latter, with the aid of a strong normative and institutional framework, to behave responsibly.

* * * * *

Yoichiro Sato is a professor at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and is the director of the Democracy Promotion Center.

Tan See Seng is the deputy director of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, the founding head of the Centre for Multilateralism Studies, and Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.

* * * * *

United States Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from Asia
Yoichiro Sato and See Seng Tan
9781604979046 · 410pp. · Buy this book from Amazon
Recommend it to your library for purchase.

This book will be on display at the 2016 ISA conference in Atlanta and the AAS conference in Seattle.

 

 

ISA 2013 San Francisco – Another Great Conference for Cambria Press!

Cambria Press is pleased to report that the ISA 2013 annual conference in San Francisco was a great one!

The Cambria Press booth was in a fantastic spot, right between Stanford University Press and Georgetown University Press.

Cambria Press booth at the 2013 ISA conference

Cambria Press booth at the 2013 ISA conference

The new Cambria Press titles received much interest as well as the recently published Cambria Press titles with outstanding reviews. Just as it was the case at the amazing Asian Studies Association (AAS) conference (which was such a huge success for Cambria Press!), there was tremendous interest in North Korea Demystified, Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century, Japanese and Nikkei at Home and Abroad, Africans in China, Democratization in Confucian East Asia, Islam and Democratization in Asia, and On China By India. It was therefore wonderful that Dr. Chih-yu Shih (editor of On China By India) could be present to see this for himself!

Cambria Press author Chih-yu Chih (On China By India)

Cambria Press author Chih-yu Chih (On China By India)

Other Cambria Press titles that garnered great interest were Forgotten Partnership Redux: Canada-U.S. Relations in the 21st Century and The Political and Economic Sustainability of Health Care in Canada: Private-Sector Involvement in the Federal Provincial Health Care System, given the recent glowing reviews for both titles in prominent journals.

Don’t miss the 30% ISA discount on these titles! Libraries are eligible for this discount too. Please use NobelGXJ for upon checkout—the discount ends on May 15 and applies to all titles. Visit the Cambria Press website to see all the titles.

Cambria Press was also pleased to attend the ISA receptions, for which Keesing’s was one of the sponsors. Given what a comprehensive, up-to-date, and organized world news resource it is, Keesing’s is an essential resource for scholars and practitioners who need to stay on top of current events.

We look forward to next year’s ISA annual conference in Toronto!

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Visit the Cambria Press website www.cambriapress.com

ISA 2013 Book Highlights: Rave Reviews for Cambria Press Titles!

Cambria Press ISA 2013 San Francisco

Cambria Press ISA 2013 San Francisco

The following titles by Cambria Press in international studies are being highlighted for the 2013 International Studies Association (ISA) annual conference in San Francisco (click on links for more details):

The Political and Economic Sustainability of Health Care in Canada: Private-Sector Involvement in the Federal Provincial Health Care System by Howard A. Palley, Marie-Pascale Pomey, and Owen B. Adams (“A rare contribution—a most welcome addition to scholarly works in this field.” – Publius: The Journal of Federalism)

Forgotten Partnership Redux: Canada-U.S. Relations in the 21st Century by Greg Anderson and Christopher Sands (“Certainly as useful as its predecessor … fitting tribute to Charles Doran.” – British Journal of Canadian Studies)

North Korea Demystified by Han S. Park with Regan Damron and Jonathan Polk (“This volume does indeed deliver according to its title … I strongly recommend this book!” – Johan Galtung, Alternative Nobel Prize Winner and founder of TRANSCEND International)

Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century: Contemporary Responses to Depopulation and Socioeconomic Decline by Peter Matanle and Anthony Rausch with the Shrinking Regions Research Group (“A very important book … very substantial and a must read” – Asian Anthropologist)

Japanese and Nikkei at Home and Abroad: Negotiating Identities in a Global World by Nobuko Adachi (“Much to commend.” – The Journal of American-East Asian Relations)

Africans in China: A Sociocultural Study and Its Implications on Africa-China Relations by Adams Bodomo (“Essential reading for scholars’! – The China Quarterly)

Democratization in Confucian East Asia: Citizen Politics in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam by Zhengxu Wang (“Clearly presented and succinctly argued.”– East Asia)

Islam and Democratization in Asia by Shiping Hua (“Suitable and useful for scholars, political commentators, students, and teachers of the field alike.” – Islam and Muslim Societies)

On China By India: From Civilization to Nation-State by Chih-yu Shih, Swaran Singh, and Reena Marwah (“Our understanding of China is greatly enriched by new insights that this broader vision yields.” – Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University)

Doing Archival Research in Political Science by Scott Frisch, Douglas Harris, Sean Q Kelly, and David C. W. Parker (“Excellent, timely, and cogently written.” – Dr. Raymond Smock, director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies; former historian, U. S. House of Representatives; and past president of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress)

SPECIAL ISA PROMOTIONS–30% off for libraries until April 30 + $40 only for ANY title  for booth sales!

1) A 30% discount is being provided for ISA members and their institutions until April 30, 2013. Use web coupon code NobelGXJ. Libraries can use this too. You can also pick up a book list and order form at the Cambria Press booth (#214). An online version of the booklist will be available at www.cambriapress.com

2) A booth sale special—$40 on ANY title for purchases made at the Cambria Press booth (#214) in the ISA exhibit hall! See Cambria Press coupon on ISA website!

Spread the word! Like Cambria Press on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CambriaPressAcademicPublisher and share this link http://wp.me/p1WqrY-lC on your Facebook page!

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AAS 2013 Book Highlights: Outstanding Reviews for Cambria Press Titles!

Africans in China, North Korea, Ban Gu, and the shrinking population of Japan are just a few of the fascinating topics covered in the highlighted Cambria Press titles.

Africans in China, North Korea, Ban Gu, and the shrinking population of Japan are just a few of the fascinating topics covered in the highlighted Cambria Press titles.

In addition to the titles in the Cambria Sinophone World Series, the following titles in Asian Studies are being highlighted for the 2013 Asian Studies Association (AAS) annual conference in San Diego (click on links for more details):

Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Victor H. Mair (Winner of the the Sarasvati Award for Best Nonfiction Book in Women and Mythology)

Africans in China: A Sociocultural Study and Its Implications on Africa-China Relations by Adams Bodomo (“Essential reading for scholars’! – The China Quarterly)

Power and Politics in Tenth-Century China: The Former Shu Regime by Hongjie Wang (“Admirably straightforward … good place to start thinking about the rest of China during the Five Dynasties period.” – Journal of Asian Studies)

The Lyrical Resonance Between Chinese Poets and Painters: The Tradition and Poetics of Tihuashi by Daan Pan (“An extremely rewarding read … far surpasses any previous English-language study of the subject.” – Journal of Asian Studies)

North Korea Demystified by Han S. Park with Regan Damron and Jonathan Polk (“This volume does indeed deliver according to its title … I strongly recommend this book!” – Johan Galtung, Alternative Nobel Prize Winner and founder of TRANSCEND International)

Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century: Contemporary Responses to Depopulation and Socioeconomic Decline by Peter Matanle and Anthony Rausch with the Shrinking Regions Research Group (“A very important book … very substantial and a must read” – Asian Anthropologist)

Japanese and Nikkei at Home and Abroad: Negotiating Identities in a Global World by Nobuko Adachi (“Much to commend.” – The Journal of American-East Asian Relations)

Democratization in Confucian East Asia: Citizen Politics in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam by Zhengxu Wang (“Clearly presented and succinctly argued.”– East Asia)

Islam and Democratization in Asia by Shiping Hua (“Suitable and useful for scholars, political commentators, students, and teachers of the field alike.” – Islam and Muslim Societies)

Music in Ancient China: An Archaeological and Art Historical Study of Strings, Winds, and Drums during the Eastern Zhou and Han Periods (770 BCE-220 CE) by Ingrid Furniss (Winner of the Nicolas Bessaraboff Prize)

Archaeoastronomy in East Asia: Historical Observational Records of Comets and Meteor Showers from China, Japan, and Korea by David Pankenier, Zhentao Xu, and Yaotiao Jiang (“Spectacular … an important source of data and inspiration.” – Journal for the History of Astronomy)

Ban Gu’s History of Early China by Anthony E. Clark (“The author has paved the way for future studies of Chinese political culture and historiography, and for this we are indebted to him.” – Journal of the American Oriental Society)

Reflections on Dream of the Red Chamber by Liu Zaifu (translated by Shu Yunzhong) (“A delightful, fascinating, and enlightening reading.” – China Review International)

On China By India: From Civilization to Nation-State by Chih-yu Shih, Swaran Singh, and Reena Marwah (“Our understanding of China is greatly enriched by new insights that this broader vision yields.” – Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University)

SPECIAL AAS PROMOTION!

1) A 30% discount is being provided for AAS members and their institutions until April 30, 2013. Use web coupon code NobelGXJ. Libraries can use this too. You can also pick up a book list and order form at the Cambria Press booth (#201). An online version of the booklist will be made available soon too.

2) A booth sale special—$40 on ALL titles for purchases made at the Cambria Press booth (#201) in the AAS exhibit hall!

3) A lucky draw will be held for a complimentary copy of Gao Xingjian’s latest book (Gao Xingjian: Aesthetics and Creation) signed by Gao Xingjian himself!

To enter this draw, all you need to do is drop off your business card at the Cambria Press booth (#201) at the AAS exhibit hall!

Spread the word! Like Cambria Press on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CambriaPressAcademicPublisher and share this link http://wp.me/p1WqrY-ko on your Facebook page!

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STAY POSTED! Follow Cambria Press on Twitter, like Cambria Press on Facebook, and share this news from Cambria Press on Google+!

Visit the Cambria Press website www.cambriapress.com

Cambria Press Countdown to the 2012 International Studies Association Annual Conference has begun!

The countdown to the International Studies Association (ISA) annual conference in San Diego has begun!

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To kick things off, Cambria Press is proud to announce that North Korea Demystified is scheduled for publication this year.

The editor of this forthcoming book by Cambria Press is Han S. Park with Regan Damron and Jonathan Polk .

Watch an interview with Dr. Park on the book. Below is a transcript of the interview:

Question: Why did you decide to write this book?

RESPONSE: We decided to write North Korea Demystified because there is a paucity of authoritative firsthand information on North Korea available to the citizens of the world’s democracies. This limits discourse on the subject, and creates a distortion between the national policies the public would choose if it had all the pertinent information and the policies governments actually pursue. More directly, public policy must itself be based upon credible and accurate information if it is to be effective. Indeed, at no other time has the need for this information been more acute. The six-party talks regarding the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula made plain the DPRK’s ambition (and ability) to play a larger role in world affairs, and its formal nuclear tests have exacerbated the tension and urgency of the situation. The death of Kim Jong-il and succession of his son Kim Jong-un, and recent reopening of bilateral discussions with the United States further increase the necessity of a nuanced understanding of contemporary society within the DPRK. If the world is to effectively deal with the reality of North Korea, reliable information is critical.

Question: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?

RESPONSE: We hope readers take away from our book an understanding that no matter how odd or dysfunctional North Korea’s behavior may seem, it acts in a fundamentally rational matter—but that this rationality must be put into context in order to be properly understood. That is, their rationality is not independent of their historical experience, their culture, their value structure, or their institutional constraints, and all of these things must be considered in order to discover the rationality behind the decision making that appears on its surface to be so ‘irrational’ and/or ‘dangerous.’ We also hope to supply the reader with much needed factual information garnered through firsthand experience by those who have actually visited and done research in North Korea, to provide a comprehensive overview of North Korean society rather than an in-depth treatment of any single characteristic of it.

Question: What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?

RESPONSE: In light of North Korea’s recent statement that it intends to launch a satellite on 15 April 2012 in order to commemorate the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, it has become even more apparent that what is needed is a more nuanced understanding of the domestic underpinnings of North Korea’s foreign policy. The goal of North Korea Demystified was to lift the veil on a society that remains opaque and resistant to outside scrutiny. It is imperative that future scholarship on the DPRK proceed from a position of empathy, one focused on understanding the unique worldview that originates from the particular circumstances of North Korean history, culture, and political institutions. Although the idea of North Korean government as representing the interests of members of the society is unpalatable to most scholars, no political system exists without meeting the needs of some sub-section of society. With respect to North Korea, we still do not know nearly enough about how the interests of society are aggregated by the institutions of the state, which groups of society’s interests are being articulated, and what political needs are and are not being addressed within the current political system.

Another forthcoming title that is a must for all political scientist is Doing Archival Research in Political Science edited by Scott A. Frisch, Douglas B. Harris, Sean Q. Kelly, and David C.W. Parker, which has already won the praise of noted experts.

There are also many other timely works that have been just published, including these which have already garnered excellent reviews by noted experts in the field:

Other important titles include:

Please visit our booth (#203) at the ISA book exhibit to see even more titles!

*If you would like to review any of these books for an academic journal, please e-mail Cambria Press at reviews[at]cambriapress.com or use the Cambria Press contact form.

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